Equality and Equity: Advancing the LGBT Community in Massachusetts

Equality and Equity: Advancing the LGBT Community in Massachusetts

While the LGBTQ community in Massachusetts is young, diverse, and makes up an estimated 5 percent of the state’s overall population (second in New England to Vermont's 5.8 percent), LGBTQ individuals continue to face widespread discrimination and are at greater risk for depression, homelessness, and food insecurity, a report from the Boston Foundation and the Fenway Institute finds. According to the report, Equality and Equity: Advancing the LGBT Community in Massachusetts (56 pages, PDF), 15.5 percent of the state’s residents between the ages of 18 and 24 identify as LGBTQ, while 18.2 percent of female and 8.7 percent of male high school students identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The report further notes that while 40.9 percent of the state's adult LGBTQ population have been diagnosed with depression, compared with 19.4 percent of the non-LGBTQ population, LGB youth were even more likely than their heterosexual peers to have considered suicide (48 percent vs. 11 percent), made a plan to commit suicide (35 percent vs. 10 percent), or attempted suicide (25 percent vs. 5 percent). The report also found that 88 percent of LGBTQ youth of color report experiencing some form of discrimination, including discrimination based on their race/ethnicity (45 percent), sexual orientation (41 percent), or gender expression (35 percent), and that 32.7 percent were unemployed, 15.5 percent were unstably housed, and 30.9 percent were food insecure. To better support LGBTQ youth, the report’s authors call for an increase in programs that address their mental and emotional health, protect them at school, address housing and homelessness issues, and nurture family acceptance.

FEATURED CONNECTIONS